I love exploring London on foot. For me the city’s beauty lies in its details, and there’s no better way to see them than by walking. I know many of you feel the same, so over the next two weeks I want to share my 3 favorite London walks with you. I’ll start with a self-guided walk in Hampstead and continue with walks in Kensington and Notting Hill.

Self-Guided Walk in Hampstead


Hampstead is London’s secret village. Up a hill outside the city center, the neighborhood is full of narrow lanes and hidden steps. Known for its literary heritage—everyone from Robert Louis Stevenson to John Keats has called this area home—locals love it for the details that add charm to the streets.

My favorite places in Hampstead are the roads around Well Walk. This street leads from Hampstead High Street to Hampstead Heath, one of the biggest and wildest parks in London. Lots of lanes and alleys radiate from it, many of which reveal beautiful houses, lush gardens, and local pubs. But really every street in the neighborhood is worth a wander, as you’ll see when you start exploring.

Heath Street, Hampstead

Self-Guided Walk in Hampstead

This self-guided walk in Hampstead will take you through the best of the neighborhood’s back streets and lanes. There are plenty of cafes, pubs, and restaurants along the way, so you can stop and take in the village atmosphere if you need a rest.

Start your walk at Hampstead tube station. Turn right when you exit the station, heading up Heath Street as you go. After passing the shops and restaurants, turn right into Hampstead Square. This little corner of the village is home to the neighborhood’s signature houses and gardens.

Elm Row, Hampstead

Follow the street around until it becomes Elm Row, then immediately turn left down the little passage that leads to New End. Locals will tell you that the cobblestones in this alley were placed at an angle so horses could walk up without slipping backwards.

Once on New End, turn left and continue to into New End Square. Like Hampstead Square, this part of the village is full of lovely houses. On your left you’ll also notice Burgh House, which is home to the Hampstead Museum.

Pop into the museum for a visit, or continue down to Flask Walk and turn right. This is one of Hampstead’s most famous streets, not least because of its colorful doors and picturesque homes. Walk down Flask Walk until you reach Hampstead High Street. Leave some time for browsing in the shops and cafes along the pedestrianized stretch of the street as you go.

Once at the high street, retrace your steps to Back Lane and turn left to walk up the street. The colorful houses here are worth a photo.

Back Lane, Hampstead

At the top of Back Lane, turn right into the little passage that is Streatley Place. Go down the steps and along the lane, peeking into Mansfield Place, a skinny alley overgrown with garden greens. It’s magical.

Mansfield Place, Hampstead

Continue your self-guided walk in Hampstead down Streatley Place, turning right as it curves around to meet New End. Turn right on Boades Mews and walk back down to Flask Walk, turning left when you get there.

Once back at the corner where Burgh House is, continue down Well Walk in front of Burgh House and past The Wells pub. Peek your head into Gainsborough Gardens on your right to see the lovely circle of homes, then continue on Well Walk until you reach Hampstead Heath.

Door on Flask Walk, Hampstead

Take a stroll in the heath if you want to soak up some greenery, or turn right to walk down East Heath Road. This will still give you a taste of the heath even if you don’t go further into it.

Once at Keats Grove, turn right. On the left you’ll pass Keats House, where poet John Keats once lived. You can go in for a visit if you’d like. When Keats Grove meets Downshire Hill, turn left and follow the road to Rosslyn Hill.

Keats House, Hampstead

Turn right on Rosslyn Hill, then cross the street and take your first left on Shepherds Walk. Once you pass the post office, continue down Spring Path, the tiny alley on your left. This secret passageway will take you through to Fitzjohn’s Avenue.

Turn right to walk up Fitzjohn’s, as the locals call it, then cross the street and turn left on Prince Arthur Road. When you come to Ellerdale Road, turn right and follow it back around to Fitzjohn’s. This worthwhile detour will take you by more architecturally pleasing sights, and if you look closely enough you may spot some impressive sculptures in the gardens.

Back on Fitzjohn’s, turn left to go up the hill, then cross the street and turn right on Perrin’s Court. If you like antiques, don’t miss the maze of shops at Hampstead Antique & Craft Emporium just beyond the entrance. If not, there are lots of little shops and cafes on the pedestrianized court, so it’s a good place to stop for a rest.

Once Perrin’s Court meets Hampstead High Street, turn left and then left again, walking down Oriel Place to see more of the neighborhood’s shops and pubs. When Oriel Place meets Heath Street, turn left, cross the street, and take your first right on Church Row.

Church Row, Hampstead

Church Row has some of the best-preserved Georgian houses in London, and a great view of the 18th-century Hampstead Parish Church at the end. Walk down to the church, then turn right after the cemetery—which is photogenic in its own right—on Holly Walk.

Church Row, Hampstead

Admire the houses and gravestones along Holly Walk—everyone from painter John Constable to writer George Du Maurier is interred here (and in the churchyard). Don’t miss the diminutive St Mary Roman Catholic Church on your right after the cemetery, either.

After the church a series of colorful doors will lead you up the hill to Mount Vernon, where you can turn right and follow the road around. Make sure to look out for the Robert Louis Stevenson plaque on your right as you go.

When Mount Vernon meets Frognal Rise, turn left and then veer right onto Windmill Hill. This pretty street winds its way up to Admiral’s Walk, where you can turn right to find the quirky Admiral’s House.

Admiral's House, Hampstead

At the end of Admiral’s Walk, turn right on Hampstead Grove, another street with picture-pretty homes. When the street meets Holly Bush Hill, you’ll see Fenton House on your right. This museum is a National Trust property featuring a beautiful 17th-century merchant’s house with a walled garden.

Fenton House, Hampstead

Visit the museum if you’d like, then continue down to Holly Bush Hill and take your first left onto Holly Mount. Here you’ll find another of Hampstead’s most beloved streets, along with its most famous pub, The Holly Bush.

Holly Bush Pub, Hampstead

Pop in for a pint, or just a peek at the warren of wooden rooms, then continue on Holly Mount, following it around as it becomes a footpath at the end.

Soon you’ll find yourself back on Heath Street, where you can turn right, cross the street, and end your walk at Hampstead tube station.

Time: 2 hours

Map of the first half of the walk: https://goo.gl/maps/aJXyazYbta62
Map of the second half of the walk: https://goo.gl/maps/D6rBznQ1T8G2

Further afield: Pergola Garden, Hampstead Heath

I’ve written a lot more London walks and you can find them in my London walking tours blog post. You can read about more lovely walks in London’s Hidden Walks, too. You can get it here.

Have you done a self-guided walk in Hampstead? What were the highlights?

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Self-Guided Walk in Hampstead

26 Comments on Lady’s Guide to a Lovely Walk in Hampstead

  1. I will definitely need to go on this walk. If the weather is nice I’ll do it this weekend. I have never been in Hampstead but it looks lovely.

  2. I loved this little guide.
    Even though I live only 10-15 minutes away from Hampstead I have to say that most of these places I have never visit.

    Now I’m hoping for a sunny weekend to do some exploring.

  3. This looks a lovely walking route! Have bookmarked it for a later date. Your love of pretty doorways has started my obsession with them too! So much so that on my latest trip to North Yorkshire I took a series of photos on door knockers in Robin Hoods Bay that have a nautical theme! Just another fascination to add to an ever increasing list! Lol…

  4. I did this walk today. Thanks for the idea – your instructions were great. Thoroughly enjoyed it. It would have been even better had the sun shone!

  5. I did a very similar walk a few weeks ago and visited The Pergola and Hill Gardens. What a nice surprise it was to find a place like this in London! It blew me away, definitely worth a visit 🙂

  6. I visited Hampstead yesterday and your walk absolutely made my afternoon. Your route blends the pretty with the historic and the bustle with the quiet (not to mention plenty of tasty coffee spots) so well. It was neat to be able to follow the text and pictorial directions alongside the maps. Hope you do more. Thank you!

  7. As I have a dreadful sense of direction I wasn’t confident I’d be able to follow your instructions but they were so clear that I had no problems! I love looking down tempting alleys but usually don’t explore them in case they are just dank and disappointing. I spent over two hours on your walk today and loved it. The highlight for me were the gardens in Mansfield Place. Peeking into people’s gardens is almost as interesting as looking through windows at dusk to see how people have decorated their houses. My other favourite part of the walk was the area around Fenton house. After enjoying your tour I headed off across Hampstead Heath to Kenwood House. It’s not a Heath. It’s a wood. I was exhausted when I arrived as guided only by my sat nav I seemed to have walked in an arc and by the time I arrived my feet felt as if they’d been beaten with bamboo rods. My footstep tracker revealed I’d walked 10 miles! Despite the pain I’ve had a lovely day, due mostly to your fabulous walk. Thank you so much. I’d never had seen a fraction of the interesting places I saw today.

  8. Did this walk today (Wednesday). Lovely houses at every turn. Fenton House has a musician playing the instruments at 2:30 on a Wednesday. An added bonus.

  9. Wish i had found your interesting walk before i went to Hampstead last Thursday.as i got lost on Hampstead Heath and decided to head back home on the tube after that,but i will be returning again and will follow your delightful looking walk and take lots of photo’s.

  10. Hi! I may have found this blog a bit too late, but I just wanted to ask how wheelchair accessible this walk is? How big are those steps you mentioned? I want to go with my active wheelchair user friend, she can bump down a few steps in her chair they’re not too steep and small! I hope we can try this!

    • The stairs are certainly wide enough for a wheelchair, but some of the staircases are 10 or more steps. There are alternative routes you can take to avoid stairs, though, so I would definitely give it a try. I hope you enjoy it!

  11. I’ve stayed in Hampstead twice while visiting London. The Flask was my local while I was there. I loved staying in a village and yet being so close to the bright lights of London. I love gardens of all sorts but the Pergola Garden is quite special. I’ve just found your blog so I’m very late with this note. Many thanks for all your tips!

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